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Mind the Gap!: A quantitative comparison between ship-to-ship communication and intended communication protocol
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Technology, Kalmar Maritime Academy.
2020 (English)In: Safety Science, ISSN 0925-7535, E-ISSN 1879-1042, Vol. 123, article id 104567Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Icebreaker operations, when an icebreaker assists other vessels through ice-packed fairways, are hazardous due to harsh environmental conditions and complexity of procedures. The severity of operations is further aggravated by the necessity for maintaining a small distance between the vessels, which consequently increases the risk of collision. Even though miscommunication is widely identified as a contributing factor to shipping accidents, previous research within winter navigation has focused largely on technical aspects of icebreaker operations to increase the operational safety. This study aimed to investigate to what extent closed-loop communication is used during icebreaker operations, and whether this practice deviates from stipulated communication protocols. A quantitative analysis was performed, coding 40 days of verbal radio communication. Subsequently, the data was compared to the stipulated communication protocol outlined in the Standard Marine Communication Phrases. The results show that closed-loop communication is not utilized to its full extent. Some message types are completely repeated at a higher rate, mainly instruction and question, while other message types, such as information and intention often receive a yes-no answer. A full closed-loop, i.e. a completely repeated message followed by a confirmation, was only observed in 16.4% of the messages initiated by an icebreaker and 14.0% for the assisted vessels. Thus, this study clearly shows that there is a gap between actual language use and stipulated communication protocol. Finally, since misunderstandings during icebreaker operations can have serious consequences, more research is needed into the underlying reasons for miscommunication in situations with little room for error.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2020. Vol. 123, article id 104567
Keywords [en]
Communication, Icebreaking, Misunderstanding, Safety, Standard Marine Communication Phrases (SMCP)
National Category
Transport Systems and Logistics Communication Studies
Research subject
Shipping, Maritime Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-90559DOI: 10.1016/j.ssci.2019.104567OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-90559DiVA, id: diva2:1378543
Available from: 2019-12-13 Created: 2019-12-13 Last updated: 2019-12-17Bibliographically approved

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Boström, Magnus
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